You’ve probably heard about the benefits of a low GI diet for weight loss, but you may not know that it’s also good for your skin and can help keep it looking young as you age!
If you’re new to this diet, a low GI diet means eating foods that are on the lower end of the glycemic index, an index that measures how quickly food is broken down by the body and turned into sugar. Foods that fill you up and take longer to convert are at the lower end of the GI index. Those that fill less and break down faster are on the higher end.
Ideally, you should aim to eat on the lower end of the GI scale, with some meals in the middle and only occasionally on the high end.
It may not seem obvious at first, but eating this way can be beneficial for your skin, not just your body. Here’s how it works: When you eat high GI foods, your blood sugar levels rise, causing your insulin levels to rise. Insulin is the hormone that promotes fat gain.
Keeping your insulin levels high results in the conversion of type 3 collagen to type 1, the more brittle collagen. Your skin will also look brittle and old. By following the principles of low GI nutrition, you provide your body and skin with foods that rank low on the GI scale and keep your skin healthy, supple and young-looking.
Following the low GI diet is not too difficult. It may take some planning when eating out, but it’s not a complex diet to follow.
Let’s say you have breakfast and you usually choose cereal packs. Most processed cereals are high GI, so this isn’t a great choice, but you can have oatmeal (no sugar) instead and add some toasted walnuts for the crunch. You can top it up with skim milk and even a dollop of yogurt. And if you want, eat a boiled egg too.
It’s important to make a distinction – this is not a high protein diet. You can eat oatmeal and whole wheat bread. In fact, it is recommended that those following the low GI diet eat grains, but they must be low GI whole grains.
For lunch, you can make a few simple changes. Steer clear of hamburgers, which are often topped with empty white bread (big blood sugar), instead opt for a healthy salad with a vinaigrette. Or you can opt for a veggie burger on a whole grain bun. No regular potato fries, but when new potatoes are on the menu, enjoy.
Dinner is probably the easiest meal of the day for low GI dieters. It’s easy to throw some meat on the grill, add some veggies and a salad, and call it done. If you usually enjoy rice with your meal, switch from white rice to basmati rice, which ranks low on the GI index. Skip the garlic bread. Add a salad.
As a snack – easy! Instead of cookies and cakes, there is yogurt, either vanilla or fruit yogurt. Yogurt has good protein content that slows down the absorption of carbohydrates, which helps lower the GI score of all foods.
So there you have it.
If you eat well off the GI scale, you will feel it. Not only will your skin look better, but you will also have more energy. This in turn will give you the energy to move and continue your new way of eating. Then you’re probably losing weight, which helps your skin in other ways. All in all, it’s a win-win meal plan.
Thanks to Marcus Ryan